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Foam plastic - alternative material for FAIR detector



Scientists from the Institute for Nuclear Physics at the University of Münster have found a foam plastic which could serve to produce X-ray photons in the future CBM detector at FAIR. The 500 square meter transition ray detector (TRD), which is necessary for the future CBM experiment (Compressed Baryonic Matter) at FAIR, is being developed in Münster, Germany.

With a transition radiatiation detector's help it is possible to identify particles that are created in a particle accelerator experiment. The Institute for Nuclear Physics in Münster tries to find out if in comparison to the usually used foil radiators enough X-ray photons are created in foam plastic. They shoot charged particles (electrons) with ultrarelativistic speed through a block of polyethylene foam of low density. If the electrons are fast enough X-rays are created on the foam's interfaces. The X-rays' properties are determined by the structure of the foam.

The result: Foam foil radiators are as effective as classical foil radiators. But they are mechanically more stable and prices are more favourable. The transition radiation detector in the future CBM experiment at FAIR in Darmstadt therefore could have a foam foil radiator. The German Federation of Foam Plastics and Polyurethanes (FSK) has now awarded the “Innovation Prize Foam Plastics 2013” in the category “Research and Development”, which is endowed with a cash prize of 3,000 euro, to the Ph.D. student Cyrano Bergmann for his project “Creation of transition radiation in foam plastics”.

More information

First TDR-tests with foam plastics (scientific report, PDF) 

The huge CBM experiment will be part of the accelerator facility FAIR that is under construction.
Foam plastic testing design for the CBM test beam at CERN proton synchrotron (PS).
Bild: GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung
Photo: Institut of Nuclear Physics, Münster University